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Protect our students in the energy crisis!

Sign and share our petition here: Protect students in the energy crisis!

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Jules Ortjens

In the midst of this crisis, there is a great sense of uncertainty in Europe - including in Maastricht. Of course, many Europeans are first and foremost concerned about the many victims in Ukraine, who are threatened by the Kremlin's ruthless imperialism. Moreover, I believe we should also be sympathetic to the innocent Russian citizens who are now forced to fight a war - a war that isn’t theirs.

Unfortunately, that is not the primary concern for many lower-income households. They wonder how to make ends meet at all in the energy crisis caused by this war. A warm home is a basic need, which is why Volt is cautiously positive that the Dutch cabinet has taken the first important steps to financially protect vulnerable citizens in these uncertain times with energy prices skyrocketing.

Yet we believe much more political action is needed to protect people from this energy crisis. Starting with students. Although the cabinet has now agreed to financially support students in this energy crisis, the current gesture is not enough: it is not yet clear how the cabinet intends to cover these costs, and officially the national guideline is still that students cannot qualify for the existing one-time energy surcharge for low-income households.

However, a recent Dutch court ruling has been crystal clear on this matter: by excluding studens, the national policy has made "an unjustifiable distinction". Volt wants that ruling to be respected. In Maastricht, a large part of the population benefits directly or indirectly from the existence of its university. We must therefore show solidarity and financially support our student population - regardless of where they come from.

This is why last weekend Volt Maastricht's group joined forces with NovUM in a petition calling on the Dutch cabinet to make the energy surcharge available to students as well. Meanwhile, the petition is being shared online so that other council members, students and other citizens of Maastricht can also sign the petition.

Read, sign and share the petition here!